First two tattoos
begin with, getting a tattoo was, for me a long, slow, and carefully thought out process, at least until it actually came time to get the ink put on my shoulder. At that point it became a question of nerve, which I am happy to say I actually had.
I can remember seeing tattoos as a kid and being fascinated by them, but having
the feeling that "nice" people did not do such things. The anchors, panthers, and other pieces of work I remember seeing were mysterious and unusual to me. As an adult I have had an interest in designs for various purposes for at least twenty years. I designed t-shirt logos for athletic teams, put murals up on walls of practice areas, and in general did things that required finding designs that could be used or adapted for a variety of needs. One day I picked up a tattoo magazine thinking I might be able to find some new art or inspirations for a project. What I found instead was a fascinating batch of pictures and designs that were wildly different than the tattoos I had seen as a boy. I have to admit that I was hooked at that point - I knew I was going to get a tattoo of my own, I just did not know when or how at that point. My wife, who is a marvelous woman but at times terminally straight laced, asked me in a horrified voice why I was getting tattoo magazines, so I told her I was looking for t-shirt ideas and left it at that.
That first tattoo magazine I bought was purchased about five years ago, and it
took me until this last October to actually find the design I wanted to use. During that time I must have bought at least fifty or sixty magazines, looked up hundreds of pictures on the net, and visited the tattoo places in town a half dozen times to look at flash. Sometimes a design would look great, but it just was not something I wanted to wear for the next forty or fifty years. Then I found my bird.
While looking through a tattoo mag I saw a design that included a sort of tribal
style hawk/eagle. The thing was perched on top of another design, but as soon as I saw it the bells went off and I knew that I had found exactly what I had waited for. I photocopied the design, made several changes in the overall appearance of the work, and headed into town to get my first ink.
I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about the whole thing when it came time
to go into the shop and commit to actually getting a tattoo. It is about a twenty minute drive to Dave's shop, and my stomach was turning the whole way. When I got there I drove past the parking area to be sure that no one else was in the shop and gathered up my sagging nerve to go in and "do it." As I walked up to the door I remember asking myself out loud " Do you really have the balls to do this?" Instead of worrying about that answer I just went in and started discussing the size and placement of the design. Dave was pretty good about relaxing me, and in just a few minutes I was in the chair listening to some hard music and trying to focus on the pictures on the wall as we got ready to do the actual tattooing.
The hardest part was waiting for the first sensations that the needle would make.
It seemed to take forever to make the final preparations, but finally we got things filed and ready to go. As those of you who have any tattoos know, the outlining can be a little uncomfortable, but it is not unbearable by any means. It felt more like a burn than anything else, and Dave got to the fill in work without any major delay, so the whole thing was done in less than an hour. Afterwards we went over care procedures, bandaged my arm, and got me out the door and back to my normal routine.
I took care of the piece for several days before I let my wife or kids see the
design. I knew my wife would be a little P-Oed at first, but I reminded her that I got the tat for me, not for anyone else. My sons (11 and 8) really like the work, and started asking when they could get tattoos of their own. Their mother was less than amused.
At the school where I each and coach, the other coaches thought it was a
temporary tattoo until they got a close look, then they were mostly just shocked. I am a 45 year old teacher and coach who is known for being pretty conservative about a lot of things, so getting a tattoo was something no one expected at all.
I have to admit I spent some time in front of the mirror for a week or two
admiring my new piece of art, and I decided I really like the piece. In fact, I liked it so much I decided it needed a companion. Last week I went back and had a sun/Klingon design put on my right shoulder to balance things out. This design is bigger, and it is a lot more complex, so it took longer to do, but it looks good already, and when it gets the coloring filled in I think it will be absolutely terrific.
I think I approached this whole thing with enough forethought and research to
make it worthwhile. As a result, I have two designs that I like and that represent a lot about me
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 2000